• RSS

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday's Tithe ~ Los Angeles California

Los Angeles Examiner

~ April 29, 1958 ~

Capt. Leo Gus Wallace

Death of one of the last of America's old windjammer skippers today called attention to a seafaring tradition fast fading into memory.

Leo Gus Wallace, 90, died yesterday at the California Rest Home here after a year's illness, during which he entertained fellow patients with sagas of the sea from the Horn to the Artic Circle.

In retirement from storm-tossed bridges and quarterdecks for 20 years, Capt. Wallace lived at 2231 Locust avenue. Until 1953, he operated a landlubber business as a refrigerating engineer.

Of Scot ancestry, Capt. Wallace was born in Olympia, Wash., after his father, David, brought a fullrigged ship into the Puget Sound at the end of a voyage around the horn and decided to settle in the Northwest.

Capt. Wallace leaves his wife, Ada May, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren in addition to his son Tom.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Sheelar-McFadyen Mortuary. Interment will be in San Gabriel Cemetery.

This obituary was located during one of my RAOGK volunteer lookup days. More information about the newspapers I search is on my family history web site. A memorial has been created for Capt. Wallace and can be found on Find A Grave. I hope you'll take a moment to leave flowers for him there.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Sense from Belonging

My family tree contains more leaders than followers. The trend has been to do, rather than wait for direction. Some of us have learned to sit on our hands when the call for volunteers is heard, lest we become overwhelmed by our desire to help in everything.

This "selective joining" brings a stronger commitment to the groups in which we take part. And taking part in group activities and organizations creates a picturesque record of one's life.

One of my ancestors joined a lodge that set aside a portion of membership dues for life insurance. Good decision; he died shortly afterward and his widow was able to meet her financial obligations. Others have become members of unions, or clubs related to their occupations. The roles they played in those organizations helps me get a sense of the people they were.

Women frequently joined charitable groups and helped meet society's needs. Their accomplishments were often featured in the local newspapers. The responsibilities my female ancestors accepted (in addition to those they had at home) paints a picture of the kind of people they were.

What will your descendants learn about you when they read about the clubs and other organizations you joined?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Norman A. Clarke

Norman A. Clarke was born in Funkstown, Washington, Maryland on March 30, 1862. As a young man, he and his brother traveled from Maryland to Springfield, Clark, Ohio where he married Hester Ann Leffel in November of 1887.

The couple moved to Dayton Ohio, where Norman was a foreman in a manufacturing shop. Hester died in 1912.  Norman brought her body back to Springfield to be buried with her birth family. They had no children.

I lost track of Norman for a bit, but caught up with him through a marriage certificate filed when he remarried in Chicago where his brothers lived. Adele Curie(?) had also been married previously and she had a young son.

Norman and Adele move to Lafayette, Tippacanoe, Indiana where Adele had family. Norman worked as a foreman in a card factory. By 1930, Norman had retired. He and Adele lived out their last few years in Dayton. They are buried at Woodland Cemetery near Adele's son Charles Leigh Paulus.

Norman is my 2nd great-grandfather's brother. He left a better paper trail than ggg William Penrod Clarke. Through Norman, I have been able to learn a tremendous amount about William and their nine siblings. Knowing Norman was in Ohio when William was in Illinois helped verify the identity of my 3rd great-grandfather back in Funkstown, Washington county, Maryland.

Recently Norman provided another clue that may help explain how, when, and why the brothers traveled to Ohio. "Early Clark County Ohio Families Vital Statistics" states Norman's sister-in-law Ada Mary Leffel married Clinton L Reese who was born January 11th, 1857 in...drum roll please...Washington County, Maryland.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A Course in French

"It is obviously the date of the document." Obvious to whom? It was anything BUT obvious to me.

The woman to whom the date was obvious is French, a transplant to the United States. She has graciously designed a course for BYU to teach non-French-speaking genealogists enough of the language that we can read those oh-so-vital records.

Because of the instructor's clearly written directions, the dates on my ancestors' records really did become obvious. Although fluent in French I am not, I was able to make out a good portion of my 3rd great-grandfather's birth record:

"Naissance de (Birth of) Nicolas Schmitt:
Line 1.) L’ an dix-huit cent treize le neuf mois
Line 1.) The year eighteen hundred thirteen the nine month
Line 2.) à huit heure du matin par devant word8 maire
Line 2.) at eight hour of the morning in front of word8 mayor
Line 3.) officier de l’ Etat civil de helimer et word9 word10
Line 3.) officer of the state civil of Hellimer and word9 word10
Line 4.) et comparu Francois Schmitt word5 domiciliée
Line 4.) has appeared Francois Schmitt word5 residing
Line 5.) au dit helimer lequel nous áprésenté un enfant
Line 5.) in the said Hellimer who to us has presented a child
Line 6.) du sexe masculin né aujourd’hui word7
Line 6.) of the male sex born today word7
Line 7.) minuit et un heure de lui déclarant word8
Line 7.) midnight and one hour of to him informant word8
Line 8.) d’ Elisabethe Grosse son épouse et auquel il
Line 8.) of Elisabethe Grosse his wife and to whom
Line 9.) a declaré le prénom de Nicolas ladite
Line 9.) he declared the given name of Nicolas the said
Line 10.) présentation et déclaration faite en presence
Line 10.) presentation and declaration made in presence
Line 11.) d’ Jean Nicolas word4 word5 de word7
Line 11.) of Jean Nicolas word4 word5 of word7
Line 12.) word1 âgé de vingt deux an et L’orent Sadler
Line 12.) word1 age of twenty two years and L’orent Sadler
Line 13.) word1 âgé de trente neuf an tous deux
Line 13.) word1 age of thirty nine years both
Line 14.) domiciliés a helimer de que nous
Line 14.) residing at Hellimer of which we
Line 15.) nous ai word3 word4 acte que le pére
Line 15.) we have word3 word4 record of the father
Line 16.) word1 word2 déclarant ont signé avec nous
Line 16.) word1 word2 declarant have signed with us
Line 17.) aprés lecture faite
Line 17.) after reading done

Whew! Translating these records will certainly get easier as I become better acquainted with them. But this precious record was my first. And at the moment, it's my préféré.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

London Times; April 18, 1870 Marriages

From the front page of the London Times, 140 years ago today:

"On the 5th April, at Stoneywood House, near Aberdeen, by the Right Rev. Bishop Suther, Captain HOGANTH, 43d Light Infantry, to MARY, only daughter of FRANCIS PIRIE, Esq.

On the 5th April, at Newent, Cloucestershire, by the Rev. T. P. Little, vicar of Okenhale, assisted by the Rev. B. R. Keene, vicar of Newent, HENRY, son of the late JOHN BAIN, Esq., of Morriston, Lanarkshire, N.H., to SUSANNAH MARIMA, youngest daughter of JOHN CHARLES COOK, Esq., of Newent.

On the 5th April, at All Saints Church, Norfold-square, Paddington, by the Rev. Watson Buller Pole, vicar of Over ?? and Condi? parishes, Gloucestershire, uncle to the bride, assisted by the Rev. W. Mercer, HENRY SOPPITT, Esq., only surviving son of General Soppitt, of Her Majesty's Bombay Army, to PHILILPA MATILDA POLE, youngest daughter of Lieut.-General Arthur Conliffe Pole, Colonel 63d Regiment.

On the 5th April, at St. John's, Hackney, by the Rev. T. O. Goodchild, M. A., JOHN T. PAUL, Park-road, Dalston, to MARY, daughter of ANDREW CHRISTY, Malvern-road, Dalston.

On the 5th April, at St. Andrew's Church, Plymouth, by the Rev. Roger Smith, CAROLINE, third daughter of Commr. ELLIOTT, R. N., to Wm. HENRY LEWIN, Lieut. R. N., youngest son of the late Lieut. W. C. J. Lewin, Bengal Artillary.

On the 6th April, at St. John's Church, Buxton, by the Rev. T. B. Foalkes, M. A., vicar of Llany??, near Oswestry, HUGH, youngest son of JOHN FOULKES JONES, Esq., Machyatleth, to MARTHA, only daughter of the late ROBERT OAKLEY, Esq., Shrewsbury.

On the 6th April, at the German Church, Wright-street, by the Rev. H.E. Marotski, OCTAVIO, only survivng son of GEORGE KISSEL, Esq., Frankfort-on-the-Main, late of Manchester, to HELEN, eldest daughter of LOUIS KNOOP, Esq., Victoria Park, Manchester.

On the 7th April, at St. George's, Hanover-square, Captain BULKELEY, of Clewer Lodge, Windsor, to SELINA MARY, daughter of the late Sir FREDERICK HERVEY BATHCRST, Bt."

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Cleaning Genealogy Style

In the spring, life is all about cleaning and organizing inside and out. I'm fairly organized (obsessive according to my family, but I digress), so restoring order has never required a huge amount of time or energy. Until I turn to my genealogy files.

Every piece of paper left unattended seems to multiple overnight. I used to awaken to an unruly stack of folders, forms, and files; the result of overzealous family history searches.

One day I had an epiphany. I needed a SOP for my hobby, something similar to what I had at work. And my genealogy took a turn for the better, both historically and environmentally.

To be effective, a Standard Operating Procedure has to be written. I appreciate good documentation since my aging brain cells can misplace even the most brilliant of ideas.

So I created a Word document that clearly spells out how I do things. Things like who gets a manila folder and how those folders are labeled. My SOP explains how a surname is determined to be worthy of its own hanging folder. Where unmarried daughters' records will be kept. How to tell (at a glance) the difference between three folders with the same first and last names on the labels. What each direct line folder should contain. The purpose of those color-coded folders in the front of each hanging file.

One of the reasons I documented my process was the gap between research opportunities. If too much time lapsed, I wouldn't remember where I had left off. My SOP is priceless for that alone, but even more so in many other ways:

* Who will take over my research? If they can't understand my system, what precious records will they toss?

* Fewer trees give their lives to the creation of census records printed two and three times because I didn't know I already had them. My SOP explains where one copy will be kept for each family group. Don't have the SOP handy? Not to worry. Part of the instructions are to put directions for shared records in each folder.

* Only a tiny increment of time to play genealogy? Each folder has complete information and 'next steps' are clearly explained.

It's quite possible that your system is better than mine. That's okay. Having a system is the real key. Consistently using that system is a time-honored method for unlocking more priceless family history treasures.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Ancestor Approved

Many thanks to Leah of The Internet Genealogist, Lori of Branching Out Through the Years, and Lisa of The Faces of My Family for their stamps of approval for my It's All Relative blog. I'm touched, and delighted to accept the Ancestor Approved Award. Thank you very much.

The Ancestor Approved Award asks that as a recipient, I list ten things I have learned about any of my ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened me and pass the award along to ten other bloggers who I feel are doing their ancestors proud.

Here are the 10 things I have learned from my ancestors:

  • Risk-taking permeates the very roots of my family tree. Whether they crossed an ocean or scaled a mountain range, my ancestors saw promise outside their circumstances and pursued their dreams of a better life. This drive for improvement is evident in every generation including my grandchildren's.
  • Physical attributes and personality traits are more prevalent in our genes than we might believe. One of my living relatives looks so much like a nineteenth century ancestor, it's almost eerie.
  • The depth of my feelings for people who lived and died a hundred years before me continues to surprise me. I honor their wishes, protect their secrets, accept their shortcomings. These people are my family and I hold them close to my heart.
Things that humble me:
  • It is agony to see our grandchildren in a rearview mirror knowing it will be months before we see them again. How could my ancestors say goodbye, knowing they would never see their children again? Knowing they would have grandchildren, but never hold them, or hug them, or even hear their voices?
  • My car rests in the garage, my great-great-grandmother's horse shivers out back. My dishwasher has a china setting, my great-grandmother heats water for dishes on a woodburning stove. My grandchildren ride to school on a bus, my grandparents worked in a factory. Enough said.
  • One of the very first census records I saw listed my great-great-grandfather's sisters as domestics in a nearby town months after they immigrated from Sweden. They were 13 and 15 years old.
  • Immigration issues look a lot different to me now than they did 25 years ago.
  • Susan B. Anthony be praised.
  • Family stories and tall tales have a lot in common.
  • Ours is not to pass judgment on the past. We have only to show the cloth woven by a family of threads; some golden, some frayed.
The most difficult part of this challenge was narrowing my list of favorite blogs to just ten. I hope you'll visit my choices and enjoy them as much as I do. They are in no particular order:
  1. Midwestern Microhistory
  2. Cemetery Divas
  3. Genealogy Tip of the Day
  4. Virginia Pioneers
  5. We Tree
  6. The Genealogue
  7. In My Life
  8. Arlene Eakle's Virginia Blog
  9. Anna-Karin's Genealogical Blog
  10. The French Genealogy Blog

Monday, April 5, 2010

Gravely Disappointing

It's spring and a genealogist's thoughts turn to...cemeteries, of course!

On a recent warm and sunny day Husband and I trekked to a graveyard to take photos of headstones for Find A Grave.

This particular cemetery requires all headstones to be flat for easier "perpetual care". And while the grass was cut and the pathways were clear; some of the headstones, like this one, left me deeply saddened. Have you ever been told there is no headstone on your ancestor's grave? In a few more years the headstone pictured here could be completely covered.

How can we take a headstone photo for a family member if it looks like this? We simply cannot. We've prepared a cemetery kit for our personal use when we are out ancestor hunting which is helpful during these volunteer expeditions as well.

For starters, when visiting a cemetery, one must dress appropriately. Let's just say goose droppings can be plentiful. Choosing shoes that cover one's feet and prevent a wayward snake from slithering over one's toes is a good idea. Long pants and bug repellant will come in handy for fighting off ticks with nothing better to do than go than home with you. Sunscreen and a big hat are also wardrobe necessities. In our carry-along tool box we have:

  • a first aid kit
  • garden pads (for comfortable kneeling to take pictures)
  • gardening gloves
  • a sharp knife (to cut away overgrown grass)
  • a handheld garden hoe
  • a soft whisk broom
  • trash bags
  • a small mirror (to reflect the light for better photos)
  • moist towelettes (it's hard to stay clean)
  • extra batteries (cameras die at the silliest moments)
This is not an exhaustive list, but it's a good start. And like us, you'll probably tweak your cemetery tool kit every time you use it. But please do use it. It doesn't take much time to clear the area around a headstone. As long as you are taking care of great-grandmother's grave, take a moment to whisk away the debris on her neighbor's memorial too. Perhaps someday another researcher will do the same for you.